Today was the big day when we unleashed it for public display. The aim was that we could have a game we could play ourselves but where people could drop in and have a go as the day progressed.
The armies were as follows:
This army was in two commands, plus reinforcements.
Command 1 - Men and Dwarves
Gandalf and Bard - 1 x Hero General
Dwarves - 4 x Blades
Men of Laketown - 4 x Spears, 4 x Shooters
Command 2 - The Elves of Mirkwood
Thranduil - 1 x Spear General
Elves - 5 x Spears, 5 x Shooter
Thorin and Companions - Hero
The Eagles - 2 x Flyers
Beorn - 1 x Behemoth
The reinforcements appeared as the Alliance took casualties. A command could 'trade in' 6AP of casualties to bring one lot of reinforcements - Thorin appeared first, at the gate to the Lonely Mountain, then the Eagles, on any board edge, and finally Beorn in the rear of the Goblin army. Reinforcements were controlled by the command whose casualties triggered them, but ignored the extra PIP cost for distance from the general to reflect their independent nature.
Bolg - 1 x Hero General
Bodyguard - 3 x Warband
Archers - 3 x Shooters
Warg Riders - 2 x Riders
Warriors - 6 x Hordes
Goblin Commander - 1 x Warband General
Archers - 2 x Shooters
Warriors - 8 x Hordes
Wargs - 6 x Beasts
Warg Riders - 2 x Riders
Warriors - 4 x Warband
A bridge/ford was place far up the valley, towards The Gate. If an element of the Goblin/Warg army reached the bridge then it triggered the Goblin reinforcements, who appeared on the mountain slopes above the Alliance army. They could be divided between the Goblin commands as desired and, like the Alliance reinforcements, didn't cost extra PIPs to move if out of command.
We suspended most of the HOTT big battle rules - armies lost only when they had lost half of their APs. Losing a general was inconvenient, but not fatal. However the Goblins/Wargs could also win by capturing the Gate (treated as a Stronghold).
The victory conditions, and reinforcement rules, were designed to encourage the Goblins and Wargs to push down the valley, but also to encourage the men, Dwarves and Elves to come down off the hill-slopes. And they seemed to work.
We played through two games on the day, and here are lots of pictures.
Elves formed up on the one hill-slope.
Men and Dwarves on the other.
The ruins of Dale and the Lonely Mountain. The ruins marked the Goblin/Warg baseline and had no terrain effect. The river was for show (it has no effect on the battle in the book. The pond by the Gate is impassable. The slopes are gentle, except for the third contour which is bad going.
Here come the Goblins!
As ever the Elves bore the brunt of the fighting.
The Wargs went off on a flank march.
Warg Riders reached the bridge, but were surrounded by Elves and Dwarves.
Goblins appear on the slopes above the Elven command.
The Elves are sandwiched between two hordes of ravening Goblins.
Back to back they put up a brave fight.
But to no avail.
Hordes of goblins close on the Men of Laketown.
A few Wargs end up a little outnumbered.
Dwarves attack some Goblins, whilst their Elven 'allies' watch.
Thorin appears from under the mountain, looking and sounding just like Brian Blessed.
The Elves and Dwarves form up side by side.
Battle-lines snake across the valley.
The Wargs charge the Laketown archers. In this battle they were slaughtered. When they did it in the next it was the archers who were wiped out.
Goblin hordes hang around looking busy.
A view from the other side of the valley.
Bolg leads his troops in another assault on the Elves. He spent most of the battle failing to kill Elven archers.
The Goblins won the first battle. We swapped side for the second, and Caesar and John took things far too seriously by having a Goblin/Warg council of war and preparing A Plan.
A fisheye view from the mountain.
And a more conventional one.
The Elves come off the mountain in an attempt to prevent the Goblins from reaching the bridge.
They fail, and end up horribly outflanked.
Gandalf and Bard encourage the Men of Laketown.
Elven archers lurk on the upper slopes, preparing to hold up the Goblin reinforcements.
Another view from the mountain.
It's that fisheye again.
With the Elves in trouble Thorin gets stuck into Bolg - and kills him with the assistance of some eagles.
Hordes of the Things!
Some Dwarves looking a little lonely.
The Alliance forces looking a little thin on the ground,
Thorin pushed forward against some warg riders, but couldn't defeat them.
Despite the loss of both of their generals the Goblins won again. In fact only one general survived this second battle - wily old Gandalf.
The game was a great success, and was good fun to play. It seemed to attract attention, as most people know the Middle Earth background. For those that only know The Hobbit from the film we called it A Spoiler :) Putting it together was a real team-effort, with all of us providing and/or painting figures, and helping make the terrain. The rules and scenario came together surprisingly quickly (faster than our Pelennor Fields game last year), and gave a pretty balanced game with a few tactical choices for each side. At the end of the day it encouraged a good hard fight between two fairly well-matched armies.
Ralph and Brian put on some Flames of War, which I'm sure Ralph will chronicle more fully on his own blog.
I was asked to document some burning tanks. No, not Ralph's (although these are his) ...
... but those of his opponent.
Day two of the Con is tomorrow, but we're just planning on some more modest 15mm HOTT games.